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By Herbert Obinger, Stephan Leibfried, Francis G. Castles

Ten specialists query winning perspectives that federalism continuously inhibits the expansion of social cohesion. Their comparative research of the evolution of political associations and welfare states within the six oldest federal states--Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, the U.S.--reveals that federalism can facilitate and hamper social coverage improvement. improvement is contingent on a number of time-dependent components and this examine means that federalism may very well shield the welfare nation, and welfare states may perhaps increase nationwide integration.

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Extra info for Federalism and the Welfare State: New World and European Experiences

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72 Although most locally provided social benefits may not be regarded as public goods, Tiebout’s model reminds us that mobility between communities may be influenced and stimulated by public policy packages. Communities providing more social benefits and services than others may attract new beneficiaries from elsewhere. Were it the case that social beneficiaries were fully mobile and possessed perfect knowledge of local social policy packages, welfare-induced migration would lead to increased spending in such communities unless restrictions, such as residence requirements, were imposed.

The historical trajectories of the English-speaking and the Germanspeaking federations also differ sharply. All the English-speaking federations are former British settler colonies. The formation of federalism was accelerated by external military threats, and in the case of the United States, by its struggles for independence from the mother country. Federation building was thus closely tied to creating defensive alliances and to pooling power to avert imminent military threats. 36 For their part, the Canadians feared an invasion of US troops – then one of the largest armies in the world – in the wake of their nextdoor neighbours’ civil war, a fear already fed by earlier conflicts, such as the War of 1812, when US forces moved north and tried to take British-held territory.

So, Germany and Austria as EU member states confront an extra external ‘multi-tier’ challenge in addition to the internal ones all federations face. However, legislative impulses from Brussels do not merely provide limitations on and opportunities for national welfare state recalibration. The competencies of Brussels may also be used to bypass national political stalemate or joint decision traps in novel ways. All federations can shift responsibility and blame downwards to the states. 51 They can, in other words, play two-level federal games.

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